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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Arvada City Council District 2

The Arvada City Council is composed of seven directly elected citizens. The City of Arvada is divided into four Council districts. Residents of each district elect a Councilmember who lives within the district and represents the concerns of that district. The Mayor and two other Councilmembers are elected At-Large, meaning that they represent the entire City of Arvada rather than a specific area or district.The League of Women Voters Candidate Forum Video is available to watch. Please click HERE.

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  • Candidate picture

    Ethan J. Lutz
    (NP)

  • Candidate picture

    T.O. Owens
    (NP)

  • Candidate picture

    Lauren C. Simpson
    (NP)

Biographical Information

What do you believe is the top challenge facing the City of Arvada today and how would you address this challenge?

Do you support increasing the age to purchase vaping materials to 21? Why or why not?

Arvada is a great place to live, work and play. As City Council Member, what will you do to ensure that the City of Arvada continues to thrive?

Background I was born on the coast of Oregon and grew up in Alaska in a family of five, with an older brother and sister. I moved to Colorado after high school to attend college at Western State College of Colorado in Gunnison and fell in love with Colorado. I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Recreation with a minor in Geology. I’ve spent almost a decade enjoying Colorado’s mountains, lakes, trails, and all the beauty it has to offer. I met my wonderful wife, Kelly, in Denver, and have been married since 2010. We welcomed our son, Huxley, to Colorado on my birthday in 2014 and our daughter, Sadie, in 2016. As a blue-collar, labor industry professional, I understand the value and importance of these often misunderstood jobs. I’ll work to support Arvada’s workers and their families, and invest in keeping them working. Whether union, non-union, or seeking to unionize, these workers are crucial to Arvada’s growth and their rights and views have to be heard. Health care workers are Arvada’s top industry for jobs, followed by construction and manufacturing workers. Their voices are instrumental in Arvada’s growth and development. I’m proud to be in charge of a crew of workers and equipment that does roughly $20 million in annual revenue. I’m well-suited to take on the challenge of effectively managing projects and budgets. I look forward to finding the best ways to work with other city officials in managing Arvada’s budgets. I am confident in running for City Council because I am interested in people and in discussing issues that impact our community. I’m calm, cool, and someone you’d definitely take home to meet your parents. I take impartial, unbiased views on issues. When it comes to issues, I love to listen. Everyone has a story to tell and everyone deserves their story to be heard. I’ve always believed it’s not about who’s right and who’s wrong, but it’s about what’s the right and fair thing to do. I want my children to grow up in a great community. Arvada is the perfect place for my family as well as yours. I feel I’m fit for the job because of the things we’ve done in our neighborhood. We’ve built a great sense of community in Lamar Heights by communicating with our neighbors and each other and I want to bring that to a larger scale. I am attentive to details and focused on results. I love rewarding, hard work, and being on the City Council for Arvada would give me the opportunity to hear from our other neighborhoods, and bring actions to their concerns seriously and respectfully. I’ve always promised to be honest, faithful, and 100% transparent. I made that promise to my wife and I will make that promise to Arvada.
Contact e-mail ethanlutz82@gmail.com
Contact phone 720-375-2604
The growth of Arvada is going to be the biggest challenge facing Arvada. Measuring our growth will affect multiple other areas. Maintaining our infrastructure, creating new paths and trails, and keeping parks in close walking distance to homes is an important trait of Arvada that needs to be maintained. Choosing good opportunities for housing, whether affordable/attainable or not will also be an aspect to our growth. Not building too much, too fast, can help maintain Arvada's small-town charm. Outpacing commercial development with residential can also give people homes, but fail to provide adequate services to provide that quality of life people come to Arvada for. Commercial development must be in line with residential. Too much growth in the end can exacerbate the issues we're trying to solve: traffic, infrastructure, cost of living, and homelessness.
I would not be in support of increasing the age to purchase vaping materials to 21. The current "epidemic" being reported an echoed in the news is related to a very small amount of products, which are marijuana-related and use a certain kind of vitamin E oil. The cases of illness compared to the number of users is far greater than say, the number of people hurt by cigarette, marijuana, or alcohol use. Furthermore, while I believe this issue is out of the scope of City Council, marijuana sales are still prohibited in Arvada. People in Arvada only have to travel a short distance to another town to make their purchases; I feel an arbitrary age requirement in a poor way to discourage use. As a witness to potential vaping benefits (my wife successfully used vaping to quit smoking), education is the best way to discourage youth from vaping or using potentially harmful products.
Tackling Arvada's transportation issues will be the best way to ensure Arvada continues to thrive. Reducing traffic, improving existing roads and creating safer places for pedestrians and bicyclists will have a positive effect on Arvada's future. Making sure commercial development is encouraged will also help Arvada thrive. With healthy business comes increased revenue, and great business environments encourages residents to move to Arvada. Keeping our parks and trails maintained is another aspect to a thriving Arvada. Almost every neighborhood has a park within walking distance, and we need to maintain that standard. Happy, healthy residents breed closer, more connected neighborhoods and are what make Arvada special. Ultimately listening to the residents needs and wishes will be the best way to keep Arvada the thriving community it is today.
Background My name is T.O. Owens and I am running for Arvada City Council because I listened to my wife. In the Fall of 2005, I was reading the Arvada Report, sitting on my couch in my living room, when I came across an article about the delay of a bridge project over the nearby Ralston Creek at Garrison Street. Upset and disappointed by what I saw as a needed community improvement, I exclaimed out loud, “I wish someone would do something!” Without skipping a beat Patty, my wife of 24 years, exclaimed, “New house rule! We are no longer allowed to complain about things in our community unless we are willing to work to fix them.” (That bridge got built in 2016) Patty’s new rule made a lot of sense, and it gave me the motivation to get off of my couch and take action out in the Arvada community. To get started I did two things. The first was to look for volunteer opportunities with the City of Arvada. This led to being selected to the Board of Adjustments where I served for eight years, and then transitioned to the Arvada Planning Commission where I currently serve as Chair. Second, I still wanted to help get that bridge built on Garrison. So I became involved with the Ralston Fields Steering Committee where I joined a group of citizens to define the redevelopment of Ralston Road between Garrison and Kipling. the Ralston Road Advisory Committee and two Citizen Capital Improvement Committees where we ranked all of the capital projects facing the city The work in Arvada that I am most proud of is something you can both see and experience on Independence Avenue at the Fitzmorris Recreation Center. In 2010 John Kiljan and I founded Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community with the goal of bringing active recreation back to south-central Arvada. With the support of many members of the local community, this group obtained the funding for a “community needs assessment” that determined a recreation center offering recreation for all ages would best serve the residents of Arvada. With this data in hand, we used our collective voice and advocated these needs to the Arvada City Council, Jefferson County Public Schools, and Apex Park and Recreation District, and our voices were heard. All of us worked together to help build Fitzmorris, and I was honored to be asked to speak at the grand opening on that day in Summer of 2018. Every time I pass by Fitzmorris Rec Center I am so happy to see so many Arvadans using this great community built recreation center. It’s in my blood to be of service and community-oriented. Twenty-Five years ago, I was a fresh-faced football recruit to the United States Air Force Academy, moving from my hometown of Texas City, Texas to Colorado Springs. At Air Force, I majored in Computer Science and embraced the challenge and camaraderie. I’m proud of my Air Force Academy roots and made lifelong friends through our love of service to our country. While my classmates now live across the U.S.A., Patty and I open our home to visits at least once a year for a good meal of homemade BBQ and a trip down to the Springs to see an Air Force Academy football game- usually against whichever service academy is in town. Go Falcons! Today, nothing in this world gives me more joy than being a father to two amazing young women–my high schooler Emilyann and my middle schooler MeredithKay. I’m so proud to say that they also followed their mother’s advice to get involved in the Arvada community through their work in Girl Scouts, choir, and more activities at school than I can list. But I can’t take credit alone. It’s my amazing wife Patty, the master motivator, who got me involved in local service to our City of Arvada all those years ago. She’s a teacher by profession and the most compassionate, caring and kind person I know. I would not have made the decision to run for Arvada City Council without the support and encouragement of these women in my life, and I want to thank them for all the love, challenge and support they have given to me all these years. I would be honored to represent District 2 on the Arvada City Council. I want to preserve and honor Arvada’s rich history while carefully guiding our community into the future. With my experience in our community, I will work hard to bring sensible development, transparent government, and new recreational opportunities to Arvada while also maintaining the investments we have made over the years in our parks, trails, roads and city buildings. While this is our Arvada today, we all have a responsibility to make it a great place to live, learn, work and play for years to come. I would be honored to have your vote for Arvada City Council on November 5th.
Contact e-mail owens4arvada@gmail.com
Contact phone 303.927.8888
I think the number one thing facing the city is growth. That includes development, traffic, and infrastructure. We need to manage that growth in a way that will keep the character of Arvada while letting our city grow.
I so support the increase in the age to purchase vaping materials. I would also be interested in restricting the purchase of flavored vape juice. I think that it would be better for the overall health of our community.
I would continue to do the work that I have done for the past 15 years. I will continue to make places, encourage business, and help Arvada be a great place to live.
Background Lauren is an award-winning communications professional, currently serving as a Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Officer for the Government of Canada in the U.S. Mountain West Region. In this role, she supports the Denver-based Consul General of Canada (a diplomat) to facilitate positive bilateral relations with stakeholders ranging from everyday citizens to Chambers of Commerce to U.S. Governors, Senators and - yes - city councils. Through her work, she brings a great deal of experience building bridges across the political spectrum to advance diplomatic and trade relations at the municipal, state and federal levels. These are the skills required to succeed on Arvada City Council, where robust discussion and finding common good is what’s needed to get things done in the interest of our public health, safety and well-being. Beyond her current position, Lauren has worked in corporate, non-profit and public sector roles—providing her insight into the needs and roles of each of the pillars of our economy. She volunteers her time as the President of the Jefferson County Young Democrats, is a 2017 graduate of the Colorado Chamber of Commerce’s EXECs program for “Rising Leaders”, serves on the Jefferson County Public Schools District Accountability Committee, cleans up trash each month with the “Keep Olde Town Beautiful” volunteer group, and – most importantly – is Steven’s wife and Tabitha’s mom.
Contact e-mail laurenforarvada@gmail.com
Contact phone 720-900-1444
I believe that housing affordability and attainability is our greatest challenge. From young professionals and families who cannot afford to buy their first home to seniors looking to downsize but cannot afford a new place that better meets their needs, our residents at every end of the spectrum are being challenged. We need a diverse housing stock that offers options of all sizes and price points so Arvadans are able to find the right home for their unique needs.

To address this, I believe in *thoughtful* development—i.e.: housing solutions that fit within the established character of our existing neighborhoods. We have space to revitalize run-down parts of our city by encouraging density housing that includes a mix of market price and workforce-affordable units as well as promoting sustainable features. We will also be creative, exploring options such as “tiny home” neighborhoods, condo construction defect reform, and increasing affordable housing options available for seniors.
I do support increasing the age to 21, though the solution we need is going to have to be a comprehensive one. At the state and federal levels, I support actions be taken by our representatives to examine banning flavors and marketing directed at our children. Vaping is a relatively new product, and it’s long-term effects are not yet known. What we do know is that current regulations are not protecting our children, otherwise healthy teens (and adults) are experiencing death and critical illness, and that the damage done to developing lungs and bodies can be irreparable.

I am advocating for a public education campaign, much like was done with cigarettes to make the health risks widely known. The city should work with our school board and administrators to see such a campaign underway in Arvada, as opposed to waiting for action at higher levels. The best way to stop this problem is to make it “uncool.”

Finally, we should hold businesses accountable when they illegally sell to minors.
LIVE: Diverse housing options that are affordable and attainable for our residents, no matter what stage of life they may be in.

WORK: Advocate for local businesses and for our workers, understanding that good jobs and wages are the backbone of a strong community.

PLAY: Protecting and investing in our shared spaces, from neighborhood parks to our historic Olde Town, ensuring that they are safe, accessible and fun for you and for everyone!

Specific proposals that I will pursue on behalf of this city include construction of a local hospital as well as laying the groundwork for the creation of an Arvada Arts District that compliments Olde Town and Arvada Center—setting the stage for Arvada to be a city of the future that remembers and honors its past.